George H.W. Bush’s state funeral is taking place at National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. today. President Trump and the First Lady are there along with former presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton, and Carter.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania are sitting in the front row of George H.W. Bush's funeral service with former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter at the Washington National Cathedral. pic.twitter.com/VOdHMl5ax7
— POLITICO (@politico) December 5, 2018
This morning, the Navy’s Twitter account posted this tweet containing a video which summarizes Bush’s service as an aviator in WWII. You’ve probably heard the story about him being shot down in combat before, but seeing the sequence, even in animated form, really adds something to your sense of what an amazing thing it is that Bush survived the war.
Today, the nation says goodbye to our #USNavy shipmate President George H.W. Bush. As we do, reflect with us on the naval service of one of America's few seafaring presidents. We are #Remembering41 – https://t.co/dUtnDa9dg4 @jgm41 @Bush41Library pic.twitter.com/9nbthlSU75
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) December 5, 2018
There’s also a link to this bio on the Navy’s site. Here’s a portion of that:
After Bush was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade on 1 August, San Jacinto commenced operations against the Japanese in the Bonin Islands. On 2 September 1944, Bush piloted one of four aircraft from VT-51 that attacked the Japanese installations on Chi Chi Jima. For this mission his crew included Radioman Second Class John Delaney, and Lieutenant Junior Grade William White, USNR, who substituted for Bush’s regular gunner. During their attack, four TBM Avengers from VT-51 encountered intense antiaircraft fire. While starting the attack, Bush’s aircraft was hit and his engine caught on fire. He completed his attack and released the bombs over his target scoring several damaging hits. With his engine on fire, Bush flew several miles from the island, where he and one other crew member on the TBM Avenger bailed out of the aircraft. However, the other man’s chute did not open and he fell to his death. It was never determined which man bailed out with Bush. Both Delaney and White were killed in action. While Bush anxiously waited four hours in his inflated raft, several fighters circled protectively overhead until he was rescued by the lifeguard submarine, USS Finback. During the month he remained on Finback, Bush participated in the rescue of other pilots.
You can read the citation awarding Bush the Distinguished Flying Cross here. There are some videos online of restored TBM Avengers that are still flying. Here’s what that looks like:
In 2009, the Navy commissioned a Nimitz-class nuclear carrier bearing Bush’s name. Here’s a local news report on the ship:
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) December 2, 2018